Spring is a fresh start for swimmers as they re-focus their training toward summer competition. Following taper, a championship meet, and a few days off from practice, however, that “re-focus” part can be difficult. Let’s take a look at 5 things athletes can do right now to get excited for spring training.
Meet with Your Coach
Set up a one-on-one meeting with your coach to discuss what went well or not so well last season. Learning from last season’s races takes an objective eye. Once you’re past the immediate emotional highs or lows, and have taken some time away from the pool, you should sit down and go over the key points of your season. BridgeAthletic helps coaches and athletes do this by recording athletes’ performance and strength training data over the course of the whole season. Speak openly with your coach about your goals for this summer and the adjustments to be made in your training. When the two of you are on the same page from the beginning, you establish realistic expectations of each other that create more productive workouts in the coming months.
Keep it Fun
Spring training should be lighthearted and fun! The pressure is off and the weather is nice again, so bask in the glory of sunny practices and longer daylight during your training. Your job is to get the work done right while enjoying time with your teammates.
Do Something Different at Practice
The best coaches and athletes know that every season is going to be different. You cannot train the exact same way as the previous season, even if it went well, because you must continue to challenge your body in new ways in order to stimulate your muscles for strength and speed development. This doesn’t mean a complete overhaul of your training methods, but it requires an open mind on your part to trying new training tools. You can always get better. Adopt that attitude now to help you avoid complacency and be more motivated to test yourself in novel ways this summer.
Focus on Your Dryland
Post short course season, your swimming may not feel so great right away, but it doesn’t matter. You’ll adjust quickly to the cadence of higher volume training in the pool with a concomitant increase in your dryland training. Focus on your cardiovascular endurance and strength on land. The sooner your large muscle groups are working hard again (like your quads, hamstrings, traps and lats), the quicker you’ll return to peak fitness.
Kick A Lot in Practice
In addition to leg-driven dryland sessions, you should be killing it in the pool with kick sets. Kicking is a phenomenal way to get your whole body back in shape, and the best programs out there are doing it. Practice with solid underwaters to establish good habits early on, and try a kick-focused practice per week or at least one kicking main set to get you started.
BridgeAthletic works with elite professional, collegiate, and club swimming programs to provide a turnkey solution for dryland training. Led by Nick Folker, the top swimming strength and conditioning coach in the world, our team builds stroke-specific, custom-optimized dryland programs for each of our clients. The individualized workouts are delivered directly to athletes via our state of the art technology platform and mobile applications. Check Nick and BridgeAthletic out as recently featured in SwimSwam.
Nick Folker is the Co-Founder and Director of Elite Performance at BridgeAthletic. Nick’s roster of athletes includes 35 Olympians winning 22 Olympic Medals, 7 team NCAA Championships and over 170 individual and relay NCAA championships. Megan Fischer-Colbrie works as the Sports Science Editor at BridgeAthletic. Megan was a four-year varsity swimmer at Stanford, where she recently graduated with a degree in Human Biology. The Championship Series by BridgeAthletic is designed to empower athletes with tips from the pros that will help them reach peak performance come race day. We will be covering competition-focused topics such as nutrition, recovery, stretching, and mental preparation.